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US History for $1200. When senate seats went from appointment to election

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jor_mama Donating Member (209 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:09 AM
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US History for $1200. When senate seats went from appointment to election
I'm curious to get some insight into this. Is it correct that US Senate seats were at one point appointed by the governor of the state? When was this change made?

Furthermore, is/was this a good change? Has there ever been an attempt to go back to the original method?

And lastly, aside from how it would affect the current landscape, which is better (in otherwords, try to think overall constitutionality/democracy instead of how this would change the current senate seats), or does it even matter?
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:13 AM
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1. Senators were originally chosen not by governors...
... but, rather, by state legislatures. Changed with the 17th amendment to the Constitution. Full info here:

http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=old&doc=58

Cheers.
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jor_mama Donating Member (209 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Ken Jennings I am not ...
(he's the one currently at 34 straight Jeopardy wins)

A little embarrassed I didn't make that connection w/ 17th amendment.

I guess in reading your link, I am a bit perplexed. I can see the reason that the original means of appointing senators was there, but at the same time the description reads like it probably would today: rife with corruption, special interest groups, and aloof politicians paying no mind to the populace since they only had to pander to the state legislators. If this was the way senators earned their trip to Washington

I guess this sort of thing was fine in colonial days, but as a 'normal' citizen, wielding only the power to vote out my representative because he/she helped appoint a senator I don't like would be just one degree too far removed. I read the allegations of the 'millionaires club' and can't help but draw a connection to today, even 91 years removed from the amendment. And they had a pretty good idea in 1913 how this balance had been swayed against the popular vote, since the flag had just earned its 47th and 48th stars.

Thanks for the info!
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Where money is concerned, there's...
... always a way around the problem. Most of the US Senators today were wealthy to begin with, or became wealthy during their tenure. Says to me, as I think it does to you, that money is the problem.

Cheers.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. The states got together to write the Constitution, not
the people.

Therefore the Constitution was made very friendly to the states, not the people.

The President was elected by electors, who were to be chosen by the state legislatures, not by any popular vote of the people.

The Senators were to be chosen by state legislatures too.

Only the House of Representatives (the People's House) was to be elected by the people.

A side note. The Lincoln Douglas debates were a true disaster to Douglas. Lincoln forced him into a corner on slavery, so that when he ran for President in 1860, the southern Democrats wouldn't support him and split the party. The ironic part was that the debates were completely unnecessary as the senator was chosen by the state legislature. There was no election, and with Douglas' Democrats in full control of the legislature, he had the seat sown up regardless of debates.
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DieboldMustDie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. Senators were originally appointed by the state legislatures...
per Article. I, Section. 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution. Senators weren't elected by the people until the 17th amendment was passed in 1913. I don't know of any attempt to go back to legislative appointment.
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